Dec. 15, 2021 -- More states are announcing plans to send free at-home COVID-19 test kits to residents who request them, according to Pew’s Stateline.
Massachusetts and New Jersey announced this week that free tests would ship soon. New Hampshire and Washington began offering rapid tests to residents last month.
“With cases rising and holiday gatherings and travel, you want to protect yourself, especially if you are not feeling well or believe you may have been exposed, even if you don’t have any symptoms,” Judith Persichilli, the health commissioner for New Jersey, said during a COVID-19 news conference.
New Jersey has seen a steep increase in cases since early November, and hospitalizations are beginning to rise, particularly among older residents, Stateline reported. New hospitalizations have jumped 81% in the past 2 weeks.
The at-home testing program supplements the state’s COVID-19 testing sites, Persichilli said, and is meant to serve those who may have trouble getting to a testing facility.
New Jersey residents can order free test kits through Vault Medical Services, which provides diagnostic services. A kit is shipped overnight through UPS, and recipients can connect with a Vault representative virtually while taking the test. The kit includes prepaid UPS packaging to return the sample, and the test results should be available within 2 days of Vault receiving the sample.
On Monday, Massachusetts announced that 2 million free rapid test kits will go to 102 cities and towns across the state that have the highest proportion of families living in poverty. At the local level, officials will distribute them directly to residents.
“With the holidays approaching, we encourage residents to utilize rapid tests as a convenient way to keep family members and friends safe at gatherings,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement.
Colorado has also ordered 2 million more at-home COVID-19 test kits, according to KDVR in Denver. More than 41,000 people have requested tests so far in December, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told the news station. Each order includes four tests, and each household can order twice per week.
“This is a free solution for parents who want to test their children at home and frontline workers who want to do their own weekly testing,” the department said.